Scoil Chriost Ri’s steady climb back to the top of Irish Schoolgirls basketball continues unabated this season.
This is the school’s first season back in the ‘A’ Division for some years, having completed the clean sweep of the four Midland B Championships last year as well as an U14 B All-Ireland Cup title.
After losing the Cadette A Regional semi-final to Mercy Waterford, Scoil Chríost Rí hauled their way back through the qualifiers to an All-Ireland quarter final against Dunshaughlin. The Meath side had beaten Scoil Chríost Rí in last year’s All-Ireland Second Year B final and led this game for the first three quarters. However they finally snapped under ferocious Scoil Chríost Rí Full Court Pressure as the Laois side stormed through the last quarter for victory.
In the semi-final, they faced formidable opposition In Scoil Chiarain Leixlip, who lined out with four Irish Internationals and having recently won the Cadette A Cup Final in emphatic fashion.
This was the best basketball performance by a Scoil Chríost Rí team in many, many years. The game erupted at a frenetic pace with both teams playing brilliant basketball. Scoil Chríost Rí trailed by two points at the quarter 21-19.
The Laois girls were playing an excellent press, had explosive pace on the fast break and were composed on their offence. They shot with high accuracy out to three point range but it was their blocking out and rebounding that was the most pleasing aspect of this performance.
The contest was on a knife edge throughout, basket for basket and with two minutes on the clock, Scoil Chríost Rí trailed by just four points. The supreme effort of the press for two games finally told and Leixlip pulled away with five break press baskets to secure their place in the final.
The standard of basketball displayed by Scoil Chríost Rí in this game shows that the school will be a major force at A Division level over the coming years, capable of winning Midland and All-Ireland Championships.
Meanwhile the 1st and 2nd Year A teams remained unbeaten in their group games against Kilcullen, Thurles and Athlone. They both face Pres. Waterford in the Regional semi-finals.
The U-14 A team had a dramatic win against Scoil Iosogain, Dublin in the All-Ireland Cup. Sarah Fleming stole the ball at the half way line and drove to the hoop to sink the winning basket with less than ten seconds on the clock. They play Presentation Thurles in the quarter final.
The schools B teams are making steady and progressive improvement and were narrowly denied Regional semi-final spots this season. With continued hard work, the school can look forward to achieving success at this level also with perhaps a Regional or All-Ireland double on the cards.